No secret is safe anymore. So it is quite possible that your personal life might get swept up in a scandal that might embarrass your employer, enrage your co-workers or endanger your career.

It could be something as simple as trying to mount a coup against the boss. Or it could be as complex as going on a binge or a bender, bullying a subordinate or making a pass at someone who reports to you.

But what can you do if something personal has caused a stir on the job?

"Most companies are quite forgiving when someone has valuable skills," said John Barker, president of DZP Marketing Communications in New York. "But it is important to go to the boss, admit to error and show that you can surmount it. Be straight with your employer, admit your error and explain why it was a one-time mistake."

Outline your plan to rectify the situation, Barker advised. "Companies need the credibility of some type of personal catharsis, such as going into rehab." You need to prove to your employer that you are making immediate, positive changes, he added.

Be OK with being on watch. "No matter how valuable a person is, there's nothing to say that the problem won't come back and hurt the company," Barker said. Also, be prepared for and open to the possibility that you may be put on trial at work. This is where you can do your utmost to salvage the situation.